Outgrown at Etcetera
The intimate space of Etcetera theatre is the perfect setting for exploring the theme of friendship; theatre company Mind Your Head presents a story about a dying friendship that will resonate with many who have tried to hang on to an ideal that no longer matched reality. Beth is a free spirit who believes in true love and doesn’t want to be tied down. Lizzie craves stability, but in spite of her successful career and the house she has bought with her long-term boyfriend, she feels dissatisfied. Life has taken them into opposing directions and they no longer have shared stories. Lizzie argues that a friendship cannot be defined unless some experiences are lived together, but their tastes and opinions differ greatly and their relationship is made static by the fact that they only meet to catch up.
As teenagers they shared the same reality and inevitably bonded as they tried to make sense of the world together. A change of lights takes the audience back to the girls’ school days to show how easy it was to find common ground back then. Due to intensified interaction, the dynamics of school life provide the perfect conditions for making friends, but the bonds that form before one’s character has developed are liable to being tested by the process of maturing. In school, there are limited paths to follow, but adult life is a different context altogether, and it is the choices made when one has a plethora of options that ultimately define the self.
The foundations of Beth and Lizzie’s friendship were shaky to begin with, but the two clung to each other for the comfort and validation that a long-term friendship provides. The abyss that grows between them, however, becomes too deep to ignore, and the two begin to analyse their relationship. Arguably, when a friendship questions itself, it is a natural sign of its decline. When doubts sneak in, each party begins to mentally draw up pros and cons, but the very act of subjecting a relationship to close scrutiny is a significant and telling con in itself.
The story does not run very deep, and the short length of the play implies that it serves more as a tool to get the viewer thinking about the theme, rather than a thorough analysis. When the two girls force conversations and interactions just to honour a bond that no longer exists, what is implicitly suggested is that friendships should be effortless, and just as they begin organically, they must also be allowed to run their course and end naturally.
Outgrown was on at Etcetera Theatre from 28th April until 3rd May 2015, for further information visit here.